This expression originated in the 16th century, when dogs led very different lives to the pampered pooches of today. Generally, they lived outside and were fed on leftover scraps. They were not pets but often guard dogs. Their lives were perceived as being miserable.

This brings me to my own dog, Zeph. He is just five months old and I thought it might be time for an update on his life; far from miserable – I hope!

One of the major events, in his life, has been starting puppy school. There are four other dogs who attend; two Labradors, one Cocker Spaniel and one Bull Mastiff. Zeph is the only male.

The classes are held, every Sunday morning, in a local village hall. Social distancing comes naturally because if the pups were not kept a reasonable distance from each other, there would be mayhem!

Every week, the trainer puts something at the entrance to the hall to see how the puppies react! An open umbrella didn’t phase Zeph, at all. A life size Labrador toy was a different matter! We had barking, boxing, wrestling…

Zeph’s training is excellent when in Puppy School, in the house or in the garden. Take him out and it is almost as if he has never been trained at all! His recall is still a work in progress, so we have to be cautious about where we let him off the lead. Nine times out of ten, he will come back but if he spots a dog and its owner, in the distance, he’ll be off, unless we spot them first.

We’ve already had two unscheduled visits to the vet because Zeph has eaten something he shouldn’t. I’m not sure if it’s a collie thing but I’ve never had a dog that tries to eat everything in its path, with unpleasant results. It means keeping an eagle eye on him, particularly in the garden. I’m hoping it’s something he will stop as he gets older.

@zephbc continues to grow. He now has 150 followers!! He doesn’t appear to be particularly impressed. His most popular post is this one:

This rather startling photo reminds me of a horse! On the other hand, it does show off his different colour eyes rather well.

This is the second most popular post on his Instagram account. This was taken back in August, when I could still pick him up, without risking back problems!

Finally, here are a few of his latest photos in which you can see him playing with a new, squeaky duck toy, having a snooze with his bed and enjoying a Sunday stretch!

Having a dog again has definitely brought so much joy, in so many ways. I’m particularly enjoying the walks, even in the pouring rain! Owning a dog, is not without its challenges, especially at the puppy stage, but the rewards far out way any difficulties. I do hope you’ve enjoyed this update on Zeph’s development and stay safe!